It’s one of the main questions I get from those who online date; how fast should I meet the person face-to-face?
Imagine this; you’re matched with an attractive prospect. You start messaging one another. You find you have some things in common, frequent the same restaurants in town, and love the same sports teams. You begin to get excited. You message some more.
For weeks now you’ve been messaging back and forth. You’ve delayed meeting the other because it feels safer this way to get to know someone. Sending texts or emails allows you to be more vulnerable with them. You find yourself opening up and then you finally set a day and time to meet one another.
You sit there at a table for two at that place you both love. You’ve got your favorite outfit on. The butterflies in your stomach are working overtime you’re so nervous. This may be the one!! They walk in and by the end of the night you’ve realized you don’t actually have that much in common and they don’t really do it for you. You find yourself disappointed.
This is an unfortunate common occurrence when such anticipation is built up over time, and why you should meet the person you’re dating online sooner rather than later. Other reasons:
When we message our matches, we are on a fact-finding mission. What do you like? What don’t you like? Do you like to laugh? But until we meet someone in person, we won’t know how these facts play into their actual personality.
You Make Assumptions:
When you’re fact finding, you are focused on the broad strokes and are rarely asking or answering in specifics. This leads us to fill in the blanks and make assumptions. Most often these assumptions are that the person views things the same way that you do, which is more than likely wrong since we don’t get context and tone in text messages or email.
Creates False Sense of Intimacy:
Constant texting and messaging creates a false sense of intimacy. It makes us feel connected. You feel close to that person because you’ve spent so much time “talking” to them. You’ve even felt comfortable sharing things about yourself that you would never share in person. That’s not real intimacy. Real intimacy includes looking at a person in the eye and telling them your truths.
Your Expectations are Too High:
Between all the facts you have in common, the assumption that you’re exactly alike, and the false sense of intimacy, you’ve built a huge amount of expectation for this person. You start imagining that they’re the one. You’ve managed to build them up so greatly in your head, the real person can’t live up to that expectation.
Simply put, your online sparks don’t always amount to real-life chemistry. Texting and messaging allows you to think of what you’ll say before you say it. It gives you time to perfect your message. You can be an amazing texter, yet very awkward in person.
You can tell more about your connection in a 30-minute date than you ever will in weeks of messaging online. If you want a real relationship, you have to take risks and take your online connection offline.
Try to meet one another within two weeks of being matched. If you are hesitant, make sure to speak to the person on the phone or video chat first. Pick a crowded restaurant where you can still hear one another talk over dinner, or keep it more casual with a coffee date.
The point is to take that plunge and see how good of a fit you are offline.